Author Archive

City High School Fall Break- Oct 9th-16th

City High School will be on Fall Break starting Friday, October 9th until Friday, October 16th. We will return to school virtually on Monday, October 19th.

Q1 progress reports will be sent home during this break via email. Please request a physical copy sent home through or your student’s advisor.


Open Enrollment for the 2021-2022 School Year

Choosing a high school is a big decision for 8th graders and their families to make. The enrollment deadline is February 1, 2021 for new students for the upcoming school year. Applications for 2021-2022 received on or before February 1, 2021 will be included in our enrollment lottery. Preference is given to students enrolled at one of the CITY Center for Collaborative Learning schools in the prior school year, siblings of students enrolled in one or more of the schools at the time of the enrollment deadline, and children of employees. The application deadline for preferred enrollment is also February 1st. Any applications received after February 1 will be placed on the waiting list and reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis as spots become available.

Chromebook Distribution Details – This Wednesday Through Friday!

Greetings, wonderful community!

As another exciting adventure of a school year approaches, we are working diligently to prepare. Our next big step is getting Chromebooks out to all who need them.
If you are new to our community, welcome! I am Seth. I run Operations for the three schools. I taught at both of the PFFS sites previously and am well known for having the most horrendously excellent dad jokes.
Here are the details of the Chromebook Distribution:
• Chromebook distribution will start on this Wednesday (07/29)
• It will be set up at our University campus (300 East University Blvd.)
• The distribution will run from 8am – 10am Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday
• Anyone coming to the distribution site must wear a face mask and practice responsible social distancing
• Parents/guardians/students will not need to do anything beforehand; they can just show up within that window, follow safe distancing procedures, and we’ll equip them.
• Parents/guardians/students need to know the student’s school site (CHS, PFFS-University, PFFS-Downtown)
In addition, Paulo Freire Freedom School students from either campus who are unable to get school supplies should mention this at the distribution site. We can help!
Please see the attached map to help guide you to the right place. Do not hesitate to reach out to me (email/text is best) if you have any questions. I’m looking forward to seeing you!


Seth W. Smith (he/him/his)
Operations Manager

Letter from the Principal: Reopening & Information Webinar

Posted by City High School (Tucson, AZ) on Wednesday, July 29, 2020


Greetings Parents, Guardians, and Community Members,

Thank you all so kindly for your support and patience. As we strategically prepare for the new School Year 2020-2021 during these unprecedented times, there is much to be learned and developed by all of us. We want to assure you all that we are collaboratively and diligently working on a strategic return to school with safety and equity for all being our priorities. Given the historical context of our present time, clearly there is no Google Search for the answer. We are conducting ongoing research and data monitoring in order to adequately guide our reasoning and decisions. We are maximizing our resources at a local and federal level, and are planning according to guidance by legislature and scientific organizations.
With that stated, Tuesday, July 7, 2020, our Executive Director, Chad Blair, had sent out and posted a Strategic Four Phase of Learning Plan. Given the current Executive Order (2020-44), we are not legally able to physically open our space for learning until August 17th. However, for good reason, we have decided that we do not want to wait until August 17th for school to begin at City High School and so we are continuing with our initial return date of Thursday, August 6, 2020 via virtual learning ONLY. Here is the School Calendar for your reference. 
Attached you will find the new City High School Bell Schedule adopted. It displays what learning will look like for Phase II (Distance Learning) and Phase IV (All In Person Learning). We will cover the following in more detail, but here is insight as to how the phases are structured:
– Phase I will only be virtual learning with no in school support. To be clear, students are not allowed on campus to learn or for supports per Executive Order (2020-44). This phase will focus on student technology needs and skills, organizational skills, synchronous and asynchronous training, team building, and student orientation needs. We will provide you with more structured details as we approach Thursday, August 6, 2020.
– Phase II is projected to begin on Monday, August 17, 2020 (this would only be shifted if Executive Order directs so) which will be all virtual learning (distance learning) with student supports available on campus. Phase II will be formal curriculum and learning through synchronous and asynchronous structures. It is important to note that Phase II learning will align with the periods and times on the bell schedule.
– Phase III is a hybrid transition to Phase IV, a normal education environment. We do not have tentative dates to these phase transitions as they are being explicitly guided by legislature, school specific data, and guidance from state and federal health organizations.
Please join us for an information webinar session on Wednesday, July 29, 2020 from 9:00 am to 9:30 am. We will provide you with more details about City High School’s reopening and address your many questions. This webinar will be recorded and posted for future review and reference. Please be sure to also monitor our City High School webpage for ongoing information. Thank you and we look forward to this next school year!
You are invited to a Zoom webinar.
When: Jul 29, 2020 09:00 AM Arizona
Topic: City High School – School Year 2020-2021 – Information WebinarPlease click the link below to join the webinar:
Or iPhone one-tap :
US: +12532158782,,84669317343#  or +13462487799,,84669317343#
Or Telephone:
Dial(for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location):
US: +1 253 215 8782  or +1 346 248 7799  or +1 669 900 6833  or +1 301 715 8592  or +1 312 626 6799  or +1 929 205 6099
Webinar ID: 846 6931 7343
International numbers available:

A New Education: Our four-phase approach to safety, equity, health, wellness, and engaged learning


City High Students Recognized as Finalists for National NPR and NYTimes Podcast Awards

This week, four City High School students were named as finalists in The New York Times Student Podcast Contest. The students, listed below, created their podcasts in Sarah Bromer’s Radio Production class, where students learn how to write, record, edit, and produce their own radio stories. The class publishes a monthly podcast called “City High Radio.” Stay posted—The New York Times will be announcing the winners soon!

Finalist Iman Flenory wrote a compelling story about school shootings, and the daily fear that grips many students and teachers. Listen here:

Finalists Cougar Miller and Julia Ortiz investigated Gen Z attitudes toward climate change. Check out their story here:

Finalist Alex Soto’s piece, titled “What Is the Most Beautiful Sound?” is, well, simply beautiful. Listen here:

Last month, a longer version of Alex’s piece was selected as a finalist in the NPR Student Podcast Challenge. Alex was one of 15 finalists chosen from a field of more than 2,000 entries nationwide. You can read about Alex and the other finalists here .

Our local NPR station, KUAZ, featured Alex’s story in a recent episode of The Buzz This piece profiles Alex and two other award-winning City High journalists, Samantha Zazueta and Paloma Martinez, as well as teacher Sarah Bromer.

To hear more stories from City High Radio, or to subscribe to our podcast, simply search for “City High Radio” on iTunes, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts. You can also listen to all of City High Radio’s stories here, on SoundCloud:

CITY Center Announces New School Leadership

It is with excitement that we announce the new administrative team for the three CITY Center for Collaborative Learning schools. Our new leaders are an extraordinary group of educators who are committed to the mission and vision of our schools and our organization and will also use their experience and wisdom to push our thinking and enrich our programs.

Our leadership team will be prioritizing student and staff safety this year as we figure out the best ways to create authentic and engaging learning during an ongoing pandemic.  We will also be furthering and improving all of our diversity, equity, and inclusion policies and procedures; our competency-based learning; our social-emotional supports; and our project-based learning.  Our schools will also be continuing to develop culturally-sustaining pedagogies to address racial inequalities and systemic racism, and to create more authentic and engaging learning for all of our students

Daniel J. Morales II is the new Principal of City High School. Daniel received his M. Ed from the U of A and is currently completing his U of A  Ph D.  He has previously served as Principal of Chicanos Por La Causa – Envision High School, Vice Principal at Desert Sky Community School Elementary, and as Data Instruction Coach and Lead English Language Arts Teacher at Chicanos Por La Causa- Toltecalli High School.  Daniel, his wife Diana, and their two children are moving back to Tucson after a year in New York City.

Marisol Badilla is the new Dean of Students at City High School.  Marisol received a Masters of Science in Mexican American Studies from the U of A in 2009 and will begin working toward her Ph D in Education there this fall.  She has been a social studies, reading, and Spanish teacher at City High where she also developed and directed the Restorative Practices program. Marisol has integrated her social justice and antiracist pedagogies in all of her teaching and community building. Marisol has been a coach of the Critical Friends Group, the co-chair of the family association, and a school board member.

Lin Lucas is starting as Co-Principal of Paulo Freire Freedom School – University.  Lin graduated with a degree in Interdisciplinary Early Childhood Education from Western Washington University.  Lin has taught Humanities at PFFSU since 2018 and quickly established himself as a teacher-leader at that school. Lin completed the Race and Equity Facilitation Training from the Seattle Race and Social Justice Initiative.  Lin is a long-time educator who has put his scholarship, skills, and commitment to equity to work in a variety of educational and arts organizations. In addition to being a passionate educator, Lin is a visual artist, dancer, and choreographer.

Carman Ryken is also starting as the Co-Principal of Paulo Freire Freedom School -University.  Carman earned a degree in French and Math from Mills College.  Carman began teaching math at PFFSU in 2012 and has been a leader in project-based learning and competency-based learning during her tenure.  Carman is a skilled facilitator who has served as a Critical Friends Group coach and leader of the math department. Carman has presented on social justice in math and project-based learning in math at academic conferences.  She is passionate about math and is committed to the success of all learners.

JoAnn Groh is returning to the role of Principal of Paulo Freire Freedom School – Downtown after a year of leading the professional learning outreach center.  JoAnn is a founder of Paulo Freire Freedom Schools and has been a leader of our organization since its inception.  JoAnn is an expert in project-based learning who conducts trainings across the country as a facilitator for PBLWorks.  She is a nationally recognized educational thinker and innovator who has served as a facilitator for SRI’s Critical Friendship model for professional learning communities.

Misa Gonzales is starting the Principal Apprenticeship pilot program at PFFSD.  Misa received a degree in Secondary Education Extended English from the U of A. Misa has been teaching English and Language Arts at Paulo Freire Freedom School – Downtown since 2017. She is the 2013 winner of the ConnectED Champion of Change award. Misa has served on the Teaching and Learning Committee, as a Critical Friends Group coach, and as a CBL and Empower specialist.  Misa embodies what it means to be a teacher leader in our organization, and she is excited to take on this new level of leadership.

Patrick Kelly is also starting the Principal Apprenticeship pilot program at PFFSD.  Patrick has been teaching English and Language Arts at PFFSD since 2016.  Patrick is an expert in project-based learning and has designed and implemented multiple gold-standard interdisciplinary projects.  Patrick has been head basketball coach for City High, and he has also been a Critical Friends Group coach, drama teacher, and member of the competency-based learning development team.  Patrick has forged powerful relationships in the community which have increased student engagement and success, earning him the 2020 Ray Davies Educator of the Year award at the Jewish History Museum and Holocaust Memorial Center.

City High School Radio Student’s Audio Diaries

During our school’s closure, City High Radio students have been recording audio diaries about their lives in quarantine. Many of the diaries have aired on KXCI’s 30 Minutes show. To hear all the latest stories from City High Radio, subscribe to our podcast, or follow the diaries here, on Soundcloud:


2019-2020 VOICES Survey! Complete & be entered to win a $25 Trader Joe’s gift card!

VOICES End of Year Surveys!

If you haven’t already, please take a few minutes to complete these brief surveys giving us your valuable feedback about our extended-day programming.

There is one survey for students HERE and one survey for parents/guardians HERE.

Completed surveys are entered to win a $25 Trader Joe’s gift card! One entry per student and parent each. The drawing will be on Friday, May 29th.

Thanks, Tom

21st Century Community Learning Center Grant

City High School is once again applying for the 21st Century Community Learning Center grant! This federal funding has supported our VOICES extended day programming for the last ten years, bringing free academic & enrichment classes to our students, regular family engagement & information nights, support for our overnight field trips, and creates community partnerships that provide free workshop opportunities for all of our students.